In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ended the state funded voucher program which allowed students of repeatedly failing public schools to transfer to a private school. This gives us the unique opportunity to evaluate the incentive character of a private school competition threat in school accountability systems. Using administrative student-level data from Florida and a difference-in-discontinuities approach, I analyze whether this reduction in sanction threats led failing schools to lower their effort in raising educational performance. Results indicate that the termination of the voucher program did not attenuate the overall incentive effect of the sanction regime. This leads to conclude that the public school choice option, which remained unaffected by the court's decision, is a sufficient deterrent. This finding has important policy implications.
school accountability sanction threats school choice Florida public schools difference-in-discontinuities